Schuckman: Cancer will not curtail Kirby’s passion with community there to battle with him


Hannibal photographer Mathew Kirby, right, chats with KHQA Sports Director Chris Duerr during a game at Blue Devil Gym. | Matt Schuckman photo

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Mathew Kirby’s caring, compassionate and friendly disposition can only be rivaled by his passion for his hometown and his hobby.

Yet, to call his photography a hobby might be a disservice.

The time, effort and detail he puts into capturing the moments that highlight Hannibal High School athletics and community events is second to none. His images tell the story of the action on the field or court, but show the support coming from the stands and beyond.

He has been recognized nationally by the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work, but he doesn’t do it for a paycheck. He does it to serve his community.

Now is the time for the community to pay it back with its support.

In February, Kirby was diagnosed with oral squamous cell carcinoma — cancer in the back of his mouth. In mid-March, he began undergoing treatments, which include radiation multiple times per week and chemotherapy every three weeks. The challenges that come with it are mighty, but so is his spirit and soul.

The same goes for the heart of his family, which beats strong thanks to the support of his wife, Kim, and their three sons.

Yet, anyone who has gone through cancer or had a family member overcome it knows you never go through this fight alone. It takes a village in the truest sense of the term, and this village intends to help the Kirbys win this battle.

T-shirts have been made available for purchase with the phrase “Cancer Sucks” splashed across the front with splashes of color all around. All proceeds from the t-shirt sales will go to the Kirbys to help defray some of the costs that are accrued.

The deadline for the t-shirt order is April 7 and the order form can be found at

Prayers, positive thoughts, a kind word or text message mean just as much, too.

It’s all about support and staying strong when times get tough. Kirby knows there will be hurdles ahead, but it hasn’t kept him from photographing Hannibal spring sports when the weather allows and there is a good chance you will see him on the sideline with his camera in the weeks and months ahead.

Cancer won’t curtail his passion.

Kirby is too strong to let that happen. His family is too determined to make sure that doesn’t happen. And this community is too supportive to allow one of its own to go through this journey alone.

Cancer sucks, but cancer won’t win.

Kirby is putting up a fight, and Hannibal is fighting right there with him.

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